Alan K. Henderson's Weblog


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Tuesday, September 30, 2003

HUAC, Hollywood, And Elia Kazan

Elia Kazan, target of Hollywood's longest-lasting blacklist, passed away two days ago. He will always be remembered for his role in the anti-communist HUAC commit hearings. In a 1999 column David Horowitz placed that episode of history in context:

Let me begin by making my own views of congressional investigations like the one Kazan cooperated with clear. The purpose of such investigations is to determine whether there should be legislation to deal with certain problems and how that legislation should be designed. It is was legitimate for Congress to hold hearings inquiring into the influence of an organization like the Communist Party in an important American industry like film, as it was previously for legislators to inquire into the influence of organized crime in the union movement and other areas of American life. The Communist Party was conspiratorial in nature and set out to control unsuspecting organizations that it infiltrated. Its purposes were determined by the fact that it was financed and directed by a foreign power, whom its members worshiped. Kazan deeply resented the way the Communist Party had infiltrated and taken control of the Group Theater, where he was an actor and director, and used it for its own political ends.

What was not legitimate was for congressmen to use such hearings to attempt to expose the influence of Communists or gangsters to the public at large. Such public hearings were, in effect, trials without the due-process protections afforded in a court of law. Uncooperative witnesses were called before the committees that became juries, judges, and executioners all rolled into one. The mere charge of being a gangster or a Communist was enough to ensure a public judgment that was punitive...

By this standard, all congressional investigations that are open, whether they are of organized crime or of Communists or of executive misdeeds, as in the Iran-Contra Hearings, are equally illegitimate and also qualify as witch-hunts. Oliver North had no more constitutional protections when he appeared before the Iran-Contra committee and had to sit in the dock while Senators and congressman who enjoyed legal immunity denounced him as a liar and traitor to the entire nation, than did the Communists whose constitutional protections were similarly abused. On the other hand, I don't remember protests issuing from liberals over the attempted public hanging of Oliver North and the other Iran-Contra figures. Perhaps that's because the political shoe was on the other foot. Yet the only way to avoid such abuses of congressional power is to require that all congressional hearings be closed.

There were other aspects of the Hollywood witch-hunt (and of Kazans role) that were blurred in the Academy controversy. Every one of the Communists Kazan named, for example, had already been identified as a Communist by other witnesses. None of the Communists he named even worked in the film industry, but were theater professionals in New York. Kazans testimony destroyed no Hollywood careers. Moreover, it was not Congress that imposed the blacklist but Hollywood itself. This little fact, now forgotten, was dramatized by the way the blacklist finally came to an end. This was accomplished through the act of one man, and not one of the studio heads who had initiated the process either. This entire unhappy episode in American life was put to an end by the actor Kirk Douglas when he decided to give Dalton Trumbo a screen credit for the film Spartacus, in which Douglas starred. By putting Trumbos name on the credits, he legitimized those who had been hitherto banished, and opened the doors to their return. What made the blacklist possible, in other words, was Hollywood itself, the collusion of all those actors, writers, and directors (some of whom sat on their hands and scowled for the cameras the night Kazans own exile ended) who went to work day and in a day out during the blacklist years while their friends and colleagues languished out in the cold.

Calling The Kettle Black

Okay, so Bob Novak names a non-covert Central Intelligence Agency analyst in a column, and lots of people are drooling over the prospect of another Watergate. (Pejmanesque has running commentary here, here, here, here, here, and here.) One of the common refrains is the bogus claim that Novak and his unnamed source had placed Valerie Plame's life in jeopardy. Oh, reeeally? Since when did these people care about life-threatening security breaches? Where were they in 1987 when a Patrick Leahy leak DID result in someone's death?

"Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, inadvertently disclosed a top secret communications intercept during a [1985] television interview," reported the San Diego Union-Tribune in a 1987 editorial criticizing Congress' penchant for partisan leaks.

"The intercept, apparently of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's telephone conversations, made possible the capture of the Arab terrorists who had hijacked the cruise ship Achille Lauro and murdered American citizens," the paper said, adding, "The reports cost the life of at least one Egyptian operative involved in the operation."

Why wasn't Leahy thrown out of office and prosecuted?

Over At Sasha's

I wanna vacation.

Sunday, September 28, 2003

We're Paying More - And Getting More

Jay Manifold has an interesting post titled Inflation and Progress. On his birthday (which was last Friday) he got one of those cards which, among other things, lists the prices of several items such as automobiles and milk of 1959 and today. Conveniently it also listed average income. Jay did the math to figure out how long one had to work then and now to purchase the car, milk, etc., and posted a table displaying the results.

Regarding some items - specifically houses, automobiles, and first-class postage - purchasing power seems to have declined. Or have they? Houses are bigger, and automobiles last longer. He wrote this about mail:

The 1959 postage was, perhaps not surprisingly, cheaper. But this isn't an everything-the-government-touches-turns-to-@#$% rant. The big difference between 1959 and today is that back then, lots of documents had to be sent in hardcopy by US Mail that can be transmitted electronically now. Suppose you spend $1,000 on a personal computer, which you keep for 3 years before replacing it, and spend $100 a year for Internet access; and suppose you send 10 e-mails a day. You've spent -- assuming you use the PC for nothing else -- $3,300 to send almost 11,000 messages, at 30 cents apiece. And they get there in minutes instead of days, and both yourself and the recipient have perfect copies, which may be forwarded to others, or replied to, at zero marginal cost.

That figure of $3,300 to send 11,000 messages assumes that all correspondence is domestic. If only one percent of your email is going overseas (or across the Rio Grande, Great Lakes, or the Caribbean), that's a few extra tens of bucks you're saving.

The Internet does something that traditional mail does not: it allows people who would not otherwise learn of each other's existence to find each other in a way never before possible - through chatrooms, blogs, online message forums, etc. As someone once said, the world isn't getting smaller, it's getting closer.

One benefit of the Internet is that people are generally writing more than they did in earlier times. But is this a boon for literacy? Hard to tell; the medium that gives us National Review Online also gives us Indymedia. And those abbreviated txt msgs are crossing over from the world of pagers. If Eugene Volokh ever figures out how to review a Supreme Court decision using nothing but emoticons, we're doomed.

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Do You Want This Man Running The War On Terror?

Today's guest blog at Sasha's delves into Wesley Clark's kowtowing to the Kosovo Liberation Army during the Kosovo War.

When Galaxies Collide

The Milky Way galaxy is gobbling up the nearby Sagittarius dwarf galaxy. Kofi Annan is calling on the interstellar community to condemn this act of imperialism.


Arnold Schwarzenegger wrote a Wall Street Journal column spelling out his fiscal policy. Here are some sound bites:

  • "Gray Davis, has created a counterproductive culture in Sacramento where businesses and entrepreneurs that dare make a profit are treated as if they are enemies of the state. Mr. Davis says he wants jobs, but he has done everything possible to chase away job creators."

  • "Our debt burden [during Davis' term ad governor] has risen by more than the other 49 states combined...Our economy in the 1980s and 1990s, the pre-Davis era, grew about 20% faster than the economies of the other 49 states."

  • "The folks at the Small Business Survival Committee recently declared that thanks to Mr. Davis's anti-business rules, regulations, taxes, and litigation policies, California now ranks second to last among the 50 states in its receptivity to small businesses."

  • "Meanwhile, Lt. Gov. Bustamante, Gov. Davis's aspiring successor, is promising Californians: 'Gray Davis--the Sequel.' He recently admitted that he wants to revive the state economy by raising several more billion dollars of taxes on California's high-income individuals and businesses...If Mr. Bustamante's tax policies are implemented, we may soon be asking the last business person to leave California to please turn off the lights."

  • "I married a Kennedy and I have always believed that President John F. Kennedy was absolutely right when he said in 1962 that 'when taxes are too high, there will never be enough jobs or enough revenues to balance the budget.'"

  • "[T]he California state budget should not grow faster than the California family budget."

  • "To attract world-class, 21st-century businesses, we need a world-class education system. I will maintain the state's testing program and bring school authority and spending closer to students, parents and local taxpayers and take it away from Sacramento bureaucrats. If schools are systematically underperforming, we will expand choice options for parents with charter schools and enforce public school choice provisions in the federal No Child Left Behind Act."

On that last note, hopefully Schwarzenegger will be able to identify and terminate superfluous layers of bureaucracy in the education system.

NewsMax Roundup

Journalist Gerald Posner claims that Bill Clinton declined the Sudanese offer to extradite Osama bin Laden because the evidence was too strong. "They were afraid of convicting him...if he's going to go to jail over here we're going to be subject to reprisals around the world by fundamentalists."

Judicial Watch's Larry Klayman is running for a US Senate seat in Florida. Now here's a guy who deserves to be on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Bill O'Reilly was audited for three consecutive years by the IRS during the Clinton years, and O'Reilly suggests the audits were politically motivated.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Maybe Michael Crichton Could Work A Sequel To Congo Out Of This

Mike Antonucci of the Education Intelligence Agency reports a San Francisco Chronicle story titled, "Monkeys Show Affinity For Tough Union Tactics." The complete story is here. Antonucci has this excerpt:

* "Peace-loving capuchin monkeys may not carry picket signs like workers in a labor dispute, but the little animals do balk at unequal pay – and they'll even go on strike if they see they're being treated unfairly – researchers have found."

* "Some economists and experts on labor activism, for example, hold that an emotional sense of fairness may be just as important as coldly rational considerations in cases of collective bargaining and economic decision-making. This same sense of fairness seems reflected in the responses of the capuchin monkeys, according to [the scientific researchers]."

* "In a series of 100 trials, when a pair of capuchins were both rewarded with cucumber bits for their work, they each were satisfied and did their work… 95 percent of the time. But if one member of the pair observed her companion getting a grape instead of cucumber for the same work, the aggrieved partner [worked] only 60 percent of the time… And then, if one partner did little or no work but still got rewarded with a tasty grape, the other monkey went on what any human union member might call a work slowdown, or even a kind of one-monkey strike, stopping work altogether."

The wage disparity experiment would have a credible parallel to labor disputes if capuchins were in the habit of bargaining on behalf of the others - which would be the case if those getting grapes were idling as much as those getting cucumbers. Instead, we have evidence that capuchin monkeys hate affirmative action.

As for the high pay for slackers experiment, I suspect that this says a lot more about union objectives than the researchers would care to admit.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Murder By Judicial Order

Her name is Terri Schiavo. In 1990 she suffered brain damage due to cardiac arrest. Most of her locomotive functions are gone, but she can recognize voices, express emotion, and make vocal sounds in the attempt to speak. She requires no life support other than a feeding tube.

O February 11, 2000, Judge George W. Greer of the Sixth Judicial Circuit, in Clearwater ruled that, contrary to the evidence, she is in a persistent vegetative state (PVS), and upon the request of her husband - who is engaged to another woman and stands to inherit $750,000 - her feeding would be discontinued. An ongoing court battle initiated by Schiavo's parents has been underway ever since. Currently the case is being appealed to Federal District Court in Tampa.

The Schiavos have a website with links to many articles about the case, and a partial timeline of events (January 2000 to May 2002). This page links to court documents, videos of Terri, press releases, and a few articles.

Charles Colson had this to say in a 2001 broadcast:

The next time you hear somebody scoff at terms like "culture of death" and "slippery slope," I hope you'll remind them of Terri's case. From the beginning, "right to die" advocates have dismissed concerns about where this so-called "right" would lead. They claim that legal requirements - like a written will - would prevent abuse. No one would die simply because they were a burden to their family.

Well, those assurances have proven hollow. Despite doubts about her actual condition, and on the basis of the most dubious claims, Terri Schiavo is set to die. And this is what the "culture of death" is really all about. Disavowal of the "sanctity of life" has taken death from being merely the last resort to the option-of-choice for dealing with society's weak and helpless.

As a onetime hospice volunteer, I am a staunch opponent of euthanasia. The greatest human need during all of life is relationships. Kevorkians who cajole their "patients" into "assisted suicide" and judges who sentence the terminally and not-so-terminally ill to death rob their victims of this need at the time of life when it is most greatly magnified.

Yasser Arafat, KGB Stooge

Ion Mihai Pacepa, former head of Ceaucescu-era Romanian intelligence, has some biographical info on Yasser Arafat, detailing Soviet involvemet in his training and his rise to power.

(Link via NZ Pundit)

Yasser Arafat, Embezzler

FrontPage Magazine published a Sam F. Ghattas column that explains that a lot of those relief funds sent to the Palestinians are winding up in Yasser Arafat's private bank accounts.

I bet that sort of thing happens to a lot of Third World aid.

Monday, September 22, 2003

Are Vouchers A Good Idea?

Today's post at Sasha's links an article critical of vouchers from a libertarian perspective.

Stevie Nicks Pans Madonna, MTV

The Fleetwood Mac veteran weighs in on the Madonna-Britney kiss:

"First of all, Madonna is too old to be kissing someone who is 22," the Fleetwood Mac singer told the Herald Sun.

"And Britney should be smarter than that. Hopefully, she will figure a way out of this hole she has dug for herself...

"I thought it was the most obnoxious moment in television history," she said.

"Madonna will be fine. Madonna is Madonna. She does what she wants. She will get over this. But will Britney get over it? I don't know."

She also has some discouraging words about music videos:

"I personally have never been to a strip club, but I turn on MTV and see in every single video what it must be like to be at a strip club," Nicks said.

"I think the mystery is gone, and if you have no mystery, then you aren't even sexy.

"Real sexuality and sensuality is in the music, and all these girls, vis-a-vis, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and on and on, should go back to writing songs and start over because it won't last and they won't last.

"When they are 55, they won't be around and that's sad because I think a lot of those girls are very talented. But they are signing their own death warrants."


The Axis of Weevil has its own college - Weevil State University. Possumblog has the details.

Check out the WSU mascots!


Update:WSU has its own website!

Economic Lessons From The Blogosphere

Clayton Cramer links to a hideously bigoted cartoon from Al Franken's book. Franken thinks that capitalism and charity somehow conflict with one another. Obviously he doesn't understand what those concepts really are. Capitalism is nothing more than private commerce (which properly must be free from fraud and government subsidy). Charity is assistance to the needy. Franken is one of many who sees government-enabled income redistribution as a proper fixture to the national economy, failing to grasp that charity must be temporary and voluntary. And where does charity come from without capitalism?

Daniel Drezner deflates the myth that income inequality is an inherently bad thing. He points out that in America, inequality is the characteristic of an economy with a high degree of income mobility; it means that there are many opportunities to rise to higher income brackets. I would note that high income gaps also exist where income mobility is flat - in places like Cuba where government elites steal from the masses and strangle citizens' ability to engage in commerce.

Saturday, September 20, 2003


Yesterday was Talk Like A Pirate Day, maties! Missed it, eh? Well, ye can still visit the official site fer information. Check out the English-to-Pirate translator. I tried it out on the Preamble of the Constitution of the United States:

"We t'peopleo't'United States, in ordert'form a more perfect union, establish justice, inaye domestic tranquility, provide for t'common defense, promote t'general welfare, and secure t'blessin'so'libertyt'ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for t'United Stateso'America. "

Needs a wee bit o' work, mates.

Friday, September 19, 2003

Speaking Of Cuba...

Granma has an article commemorating the 216thanniversary of the US Constitution, which was two days ago. Staff writer Lili Chi finds defects in the document:

  • It does not refer to peace, but certainly makes reference to the right to declare war (Section 8, paragraph 11 of Article 1).
  • None of the Amendments discuss foreign policy or commitments on the basis of respect and good will that it should assume as a nation in the international context. Nevertheless we have seen its interference in the affairs of other governments, particularly those that have "dared" to elect their own forms of mandate. The entire history of the United States has been characterized by a lack of respect for international law and the bases of the UN Charter, together with the responsibilities that this brings with it.
  • It does not proscribe aggression and admits as legal the possession and use of arms (Amendment 11, 1791) in contradiction with the supposed objectives for which it was created by its founders, to "promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity" At was price? That was not foreseen.

The second point is most revealing. We're condemned for "interfering" with other governments, but we're expected to roll over and let other nations push us around under the pretext of some fictional "international law." There's a reason why the Founders were leery of "entanlging alliances."

Ironically, the official Cuban paper interprets the Second Amendment (I think "Amendment 11" was supposed to read "Amendment II") more accurately than many American legal scholars.

Former Eastern European Leaders Call For Cuba's Liberation

This letter has appeared in a number of papers, including the Daily Telegraph:

Time For Action

Sir - Earlier this year, Fidel Castro's regime imprisoned 75 representatives of the Cuban opposition. More than 40 co-ordinators of the Varela project - which draws on the current Cuban constitution and calls for the holding of a referendum on the freedom of speech and assembly, the release of political prisoners, free enterprise and free elections - and more than 20 journalists, together with other representatives of various pro-democracy movements, were sentenced in mock trials to prison terms ranging from six to 28 years, merely for daring to express an opinion other than the official one.

Yet the voice of free-thinking Cubans is growing louder, and that is precisely what Castro and his government are justifiably worried about. Despite the omnipresent secret police and government propaganda, thousands of Cubans have already demonstrated their courage by signing project Varela. The regime's response to project Varela, and similar initiatives, is at best disregard and at worst persecution.

The latest wave of confrontations, accompanied by anti-European diatribes from the Cuban political leadership, is an expression of weakness and desperation. The regime is running short of breath, just as the party rulers in the Iron Curtain countries did at the end of the 1980s.

Internal opposition is growing in strength; even the police raids in March failed to bring it to its knees. The times are changing, the revolution is ageing with its leaders, the regime is nervous. Castro knows only too well that there will come a day when his revolution will perish with himself.

No one knows exactly what will happen then, but it is clear in Brussels, Washington, Mexico, among the exiles as well as Cuban residents themselves, that freedom, democracy and prosperity in Cuba depend on support for Cuban dissidents, and that such support will increase the chances of Cuba's peaceful transition to democracy.

Today, it is the responsibility of the democratic world to support representatives of the Cuban opposition, irrespective of how long the Cuban Stalinists manage to cling to power. The Cuban opposition must enjoy the same international support as political dissidents did in divided Europe.

It cannot be claimed that the American embargo of Cuba has brought about the desired result. Neither can this be said of the European policy, which has so far been considerably more forthcoming towards the Cuban regime.

It is time to put aside transatlantic disputes about the embargo of Cuba and to concentrate on direct support for Cuban dissidents, prisoners of conscience and their families.

Europe ought to make it unambiguously clear that Castro is a dictator, and that for democratic countries a dictatorship cannot become a partner until it commences a process of political liberalisation.

At the same time, European countries should establish a "Cuban Democracy Fund" to support the emergence of a civil society in Cuba. Such a fund would be ready for instant use in the case of political changes on the island.

Europe's peaceful transitions from dictatorship to democracy, first in Spain and later in the East, have been an inspiration for the Cuban opposition, so Europe should not hesitate now. Its own history obliges it to act.

Václav Havel, Former President of the Czech Republic
Arpad Göncz, Former President of Hungary
Lech Walesa, Former President of Poland

Thursday, September 18, 2003

Wesley Clark, Man Of Peace?

Over at Sasha's I posted on episodes from Clark's military record.

The Press On The Iraq/al-Qaeda Link

NewsMax excerpts various press reports on ties between Iraq ans al-Qaeda. From the New York Times:

"New information does suggest that Mr. Hussein was actively training terrorists to attack American interests throughout the 1990's.

"One example is the testimony of Sabah Khodada, a captain in the Iraqi army who emigrated to Texas in May after working for eight years at what he described as a terrorist training camp at a bend in the Tigris River just southeast of Baghdad."

According to the Times, Khodada described the camp as "a highly secret installation" where "non-Iraqi Arabs from Persian Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia" received training in "assassinations, kidnapping, hijacking of airplanes, hijacking of buses, hijacking of trains, and all other kinds of operations related to terrorism."

In comments unmentioned by the Times but covered by PBS, Khodada said that when he saw the twin towers fall he thought to himself, "This was done by graduates of Salman Pak."

From National Public Radio:

"The case against Iraq is based on three things. First, Mohamed Atta, believed to be the key organizer of the September 11th attacks, met earlier this year with an Iraqi agent in Prague.

"Second, Iraq's stockpiled anthrax as a biological weapon.

"And third, recent allegations that there's a camp in Iraq where foreign terrorists are trained. The allegation about the terrorist training camp comes through a recent Iraqi defector. According to this story, the camp is located near the town of Salman Pak, southeast of Baghdad, and it contains a Boeing jetliner that could be used to train hijackers how to seize a plane."

Charles Deulfer, former Deputy Head, U.N. Special Commission for Iraq, told NPR, "There were lots of places in Iraq where training of non-Iraqis, or things, which by our lexicon would be considered terrorism, was taking place. That's why Iraq is on the terrorist list. Having a large aircraft, a 707, in a peninsula, completely visible from the air or from satellite, with no airline runways nearby, that's not there by accident."

(PBS interviewed an anonymous Iraqi lieutenant general who confirms Khodada's allegations.)

Tim Russert recently asked Vice President Cheney about Salman Pak and about the alleged meeting between Mohamed Atta and an Iraqi agent in Prague. Cheney affirms the Atta meeting but dodges the Salman Pak question entirely. The Washington Post records the complete exchange:

RUSSERT: Let me turn to Iraq. When you were last on this program, September 16, five days after the attack on our country, I asked you whether there was any evidence that Iraq was involved in the attack and you said no. Since that time, a couple articles have appeared which I want to get you to react to. The first: "The Czech interior minister said today that an Iraqi intelligence officer met with Mohammed [sic] Atta, one of the ringleaders of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States, just five months before the synchronized hijackings and mass killings were carried out."

And this from James Woolsey, former CIA director: "We know that at Salman Pak, on the southern edge of Baghdad, five different eyewitnesses--three Iraqi defectors and two American U.N. Inspectors--have said--and now there are aerial photographs to show it--a Boeing 707 that was used for training of hijackers, including non-Iraqi hijackers trained very secretly to take over airplanes with knives." And we have photographs. As you can see [points to satellite photo of Salman Pak] that little white speck--and there it is, the plane on the ground in Iraq used to train non-Iraqi hijackers. Do you still believe there's no evidence that Iraq was involved in September 11?

VICE PRES. CHENEY: Well, what we now have that's developed since you and I last talked, Tim, of course, was that report that--it's been pretty well confirmed that he did go to Prague and he did meet with a senior official of the Iraqi intelligence service in Czechoslovakia last April, several months before the attack. Now, what the purpose of that was, what transpired between them, we simply don't know at this point, but that's clearly an avenue that we want to pursue.

(Free Republic has an article featuring the Salman Pak satellite photos - which it acquired from Rush Limbaugh. Some Freepers think the plane looks more like a Tupolev 157, but Iraqi eyewitnesses say otherwise.)

From William Safire:

"Faruq Hijazi, in 1994 Saddam's secret service director and now his ambassador to Turkey, has had a series of meetings with bin Laden. These began in Sudan, arranged by Hassan al-Tourabi, the Sudanese Muslim leader, and continued in Afghanistan. The conspiracy was furthered in Baghdad in 1998 between bin Laden's No. 2 man, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and Saddam's vice president, Taha Yasin Ramadan."

Safire continued, "To strengthen Saddam's position in the Arab world during his 1998 crisis with the U.N., bin Laden established the 'World Islamic Front for Jihad Against the Jews and the Crusaders.' The Muslim-in-name Iraqi dictator reciprocated by promising secure refuge in Iraq for bin Laden and his key lieutenants if they were forced to flee Afghanistan."...

"Bin Laden sent a delegation of his top Al Qaeda terrorists to Baghdad on April 25, 1998, to attend the grand celebration that week of Saddam's birthday. It was then that Saddam's bloody-minded son Uday agreed to receive several hundred Al Qaeda recruits for terrorist training in techniques unavailable in Afghanistan.

"That Baghdad birthday party, according to an unpublished spying report, celebrated something else: Uday Hussein's agreement with bin Laden's men to formally establish a joint force consisting of some of Al Qaeda's fiercest 'Afghan Arab' fighters and the covert combatants in Iraqi intelligence unit 999."

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

For My Readers In North Carolina And Virginia

FEMA and the American Red Cross have hurricane preparedness tips.

Bush On The Iraq/al-Qaeda Link

President Bush says yes to evidence of Iraqi ties to al-Qaeda, no to evidence of Iraqi involvement in 9/11.

Still mum on Salman Pak.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Cheney On The Iraq/al-Qaeda Link

NewsMax has a transcript of the following bit of dialogue between Dick Cheney and Tim Russert (emphasis added):

RUSSERT: The Washington Post asked the American people about Saddam Hussein, and this is what they said: 69 percent said he was involved in the September 11 attacks. Are you surprised by that?

CHENEY: No. I think it's not surprising that people make that connection.

RUSSERT: But is there a connection?

CHENEY: We don't know. You and I talked about this two years ago. I can remember you asking me this question just a few days after the original attack. At the time I said no, we didn't have any evidence of that. Subsequent to that, we've learned a couple of things. We learned more and more that there was a relationship between Iraq and al-Qaeda that stretched back through most of the decade of the '90s, that it involved training, for example, on BW and CW [bioweapons and chemical weapons], that al-Qaeda sent personnel to Baghdad to get trained on the systems that are involved. The Iraqis providing bomb-making expertise and advice to the al-Qaeda organization.

We know, for example, in connection with the original World Trade Center bombing in '93, that one of the bombers was Iraqi, returned to Iraq after the attack of '93. And we've learned subsequent to that, since we went into Baghdad and got into the intelligence files, that this individual probably also received financing from the Iraqi government as well as safe haven.

Now, is there a connection between the Iraqi government and the original World Trade Center bombing in '93? We know, as I say, that one of the perpetrators of that act did, in fact, receive support from the Iraqi government after the fact. With respect to 9/11, of course, we've had the story that's been public out there. The Czechs alleged that Mohamed Atta, the lead attacker, met in Prague with a senior Iraqi intelligence official five months before the attack, but we've never been able to develop any more of that yet either in terms of confirming it or discrediting it. We just don't know.

NewsMax notes that the administration is still remaining mum on the Salman Pak airline hijack training facility.

Maybe We Can Pay For The War With These

Ananova reports that someone used a forged 200 dollar bill with President Bush's likeness to buy groceries. Article has a picture of the bill in question.

Monday, September 15, 2003

The Vietnam Myth

Over at Sasha's I commented on a Brent Bozell column on the bogus Iraq-Vietnam parallel.

Howard Dean Is Doomed

NewsMax reports George McGovern's remark that the Dean campaign "reminds me a lot of what we did 30 years ago."

What McGovern did thirty years ago was to lose in one of the greatest presidential landslides in history.

A Tale Of Two Abbas Brothers

WorldNetDaily CEO Joseph Farah thinks it's no coincidence that Mahmoud Abbas resigned at the same time that fraud charges against his brother Ahmad were dropped.

Rage Against The Collegiate Machine

Students for Academic Freedom "is a clearing house and communications center for a national coalition of student organizations whose goal is to end the political abuse of the university and to restore integrity to the academic mission as a disinterested pursuit of knowledge." It currently has 36 chapters listed on its site, and has drafted an Academic Bill of Rights:

I. The Mission of the University.

The central purposes of a University are the pursuit of truth, the discovery of new knowledge through scholarship and research, the study and reasoned criticism of intellectual and cultural traditions, the teaching and general development of students to help them become creative individuals and productive citizens of a pluralistic democracy, and the transmission of knowledge and learning to a society at large. Free inquiry and free speech within the academic community are indispensable to the achievement of these goals. The freedom to teach and to learn depend upon the creation of appropriate conditions and opportunities on the campus as a whole as well as in the classrooms and lecture halls. These purposes reflect the values -- pluralism, diversity, opportunity, critical intelligence, openness and fairness -- that are the cornerstones of American society.

II. Academic Freedom

1. The Concept. Academic freedom and intellectual diversity are values indispensable to the American university. From its first formulation in the General Report of the Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure of the American Association of University Professors, the concept of academic freedom has been premised on the idea that human knowledge is a never-ending pursuit of the truth, that there is no humanly accessible truth that is not in principle open to challenge, and that no party or intellectual faction has a monopoly on wisdom. Therefore, academic freedom is most likely to thrive in an environment of intellectual diversity that protects and fosters independence of thought and speech. In the words of the General Report, it is vital to protect "as the first condition of progress, [a] complete and unlimited freedom to pursue inquiry and publish its results."

Because free inquiry and its fruits are crucial to the democratic enterprise itself, academic freedom is a national value as well. In a historic 1967 decision (Keyishian v. Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York ) the Supreme Court of the United States overturned a New York State loyalty provision for teachers with these words: "Our Nation is deeply committed to safeguarding academic freedom, [a] transcendent value to all of us and not merely to the teachers concerned." In Sweezy v. New Hampshire, (1957) the Court observed that the "essentiality of freedom in the community of American universities [was] almost self-evident."

2. The Practice. Academic freedom consists in protecting the intellectual independence of professors, researchers and students in the pursuit of knowledge and the expression of ideas from interference by legislators or authorities within the institution itself. This means that no political, ideological or religious orthodoxy will be imposed on professors and researchers through the hiring or tenure or termination process, or through any other administrative means by the academic institution. Nor shall legislatures impose any such orthodoxy through its control of the university budget.

This protection includes students. From the first statement on academic freedom, it has been recognized that intellectual independence means the protection of students - as well as faculty - from the imposition of any orthodoxy of a political, religious or ideological nature. The 1915 General Report admonished faculty to avoid "taking unfair advantage of the student's immaturity by indoctrinating him with the teacher's own opinions before the student has had an opportunity fairly to examine other opinions upon the matters in question, and before he has sufficient knowledge and ripeness of judgment to be entitled to form any definitive opinion of his own." In 1967, the AAUP's Joint Statement on Rights and Freedoms of Students reinforced and amplified this injunction by affirming the inseparability of "the freedom to teach and freedom to learn." In the words of the report, "Students should be free to take reasoned exception to the data or views offered in any course of study and to reserve judgment about matters of opinion."

Therefore, to secure the intellectual independence of faculty and students and to protect the principle of intellectual diversity, the following principles and procedures shall be observed.

1. All faculty shall be hired, fired, promoted and granted tenure on the basis of their competence and appropriate knowledge in the field of their expertise and, in the humanities, the social sciences, and the arts, with a view toward fostering a plurality of methodologies and perspectives. No faculty shall be hired or fired or denied promotion or tenure on the basis of his or her political or religious beliefs.

2. All tenure, search and hiring committee deliberations will be recorded and made available to appropriately constituted collegiate and university authorities empowered to inquire into the integrity of the process. (The names of committee members may be redacted). No faculty member will be excluded from tenure, search and hiring committees on the basis of their political or religious beliefs.

3. Students will be graded solely on the basis of their reasoned answers and appropriate knowledge of the subjects and disciplines they study, not on the basis of their political or religious beliefs.

4. Curricula and reading lists in the humanities and social sciences should reflect the uncertainty and unsettled character of all human knowledge in these areas by providing students with dissenting sources and viewpoints where appropriate. While teachers are and should be free to pursue their own findings and perspectives in presenting their views, they should consider and make their students aware of other viewpoints. Academic disciplines should welcome a diversity of approaches to unsettled questions.

5. Exposing students to the spectrum of significant scholarly viewpoints on the subjects examined in their courses is a major responsibility of faculty. Faculty will not use their courses for the purpose of political, ideological, religious or anti-religious indoctrination.

6. Selection of speakers, allocation of funds for speakers programs and other student activities will observe the principles of academic freedom and promote intellectual pluralism.

7. An environment conducive to the civil exchange of ideas being an essential component of a free university, the obstruction of invited campus speakers, destruction of campus literature or other effort to obstruct this exchange will not be tolerated.

8. Knowledge advances when individual scholars are left free to reach their own conclusions about which methods, facts, and theories have been validated by research. Academic institutions and professional societies formed to advance knowledge within an area of research, maintain the integrity of the research process, and organize the professional lives of related researchers serve as indispensable venues within which scholars circulate research findings and debate their interpretation. To perform these functions adequately, academic institutions and professional societies should maintain a posture of organizational neutrality with respect to the substantive disagreements that divide researchers on questions within, or outside, their fields of inquiry.

In short, SAF is crusading against basing hiring, granting of tenure, selection of reading material and curricula, grading of student assignments, and the regulation of civil discourse on the basis of enforcing ideological orthodoxy.

FrontPage Magazine has reprinted a Washington Times article about Colorado lawmakers who have expressed support for the Academic Bill of Rights. As the article reveals, the Left responds with predictable rhetoric that the Right simply wants to stack the deck with quotas. This misses the point: that ideological imbalance exists because of an intentionally stacked deck.

Universities, like public schools, are intensely insensitive to consumer demand. Both are led by a movement that views its relationship with the general public as Cecil Rhodes viewed colonial England's relationship with Africa: to force civilized enlightenment on the unwashed and the unwilling for their own good.

(If the name of Rhodes taints the scholarship that bears its name, perhaps David Adesnik has the right attitude: "What would truly horrify him is the idea that the scholarship had been awarded to a pair of inferior Jews such as Mr. Chafetz and myself.")

Saturday, September 13, 2003

Why Humanity Is Bad: Reason #438

Tourism a Huge Threat to Global Environment

The Next Best Thing To Soaking Yourself In Pepperoni And Garlic

Pizza-scented bubble bath.

I'm not sure about this product, but I've always maintained that if guys want to attract girls their cologne should smell like chocolate.

He's An Inspiration For A 42-Year-Old Bachelor

David Letterman is about to become a dad at the age of 56.

Hope I don't have to wait as long. I do plan on being married when and if the blessed moment arrives.

Concealed Carry Comes To The "Show Me" State

Missouri joins 44 other states in licensing concealed carry permits.

The five holdouts are Kansas, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, and Wisconsin - click here for map, drawn before the new Missouri law, or visit this popup-ad-plagued Guns & Ammo page.

NewsMax Stories

Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf's claim that Iraq sought nuclear weapons.

Howard Dean wants Bill Clinton in his administration. As what? Ambassador to Sudan, maybe?

Yasser Arafat Thinks About The Children

LGF has the story here.

Friday, September 12, 2003

What's A Little Warmongering Between Friends?

Who is familiar with the Hasbro/Avalon-Hill board boardgame Diplomacy? It vaguely resembles a Europe-only version of Risk, but the rules are radically different. Game basics are explained in this tutorial.

The game has up to seven players, each representing one of the seven major pre-WWI European powers (England, Germany, Russia, Turkey, Austria-Hungary, Italy, and France). At game start each player controls three provinces (or four, in the case of Russia) marked as Supply Centers, and one military unit (the game uses armies and navies) for each SC. A typical game begins in the year 1901. Each year has a Spring and Fall turn. Each turn begins with private negotiations between the players. After the diplomatic phase, each player secretly records orders for each unit, and when all have done so all orders are resolved. (Internet or play-by-mail games require a referee not playing one of the seven powers for order resolution.) Conflicts between player moves will force standoffs, retreats, and (when retreat is impossible) disbanding of units. At the end of the Fall turn, the number of Supply Centers controlled by each player is counted; gains and losses in the number of SCs result in building new units and disbanding old ones, respectively. The game is won when a player controls 18 SCs, or when all players abdicate or agree to call a stalemate.

The Diplomatic Pouch has many Diplomacy resources, and facilitates online Diplomacy games. I'd like to try an experiment and referee a Diplomacy game on the blog. If anybody definitely wants to play, send an email. Do not post country preferences just yet. First I want to know that there are seven definite players. At that point I will ask each player to email the following: a list of country preferences in order of preference, and a number between 0.00 and 9.99, and I will state a due date for the submissions. I will then build a list of the seven players ordered by how closely their number matches the last three numbers (ones, tenths, and hundredths digits) of the Dow Jones Industrial Average at the close of the due date. [Update: Make that the close of the day after the due date.] (Ties will be broken by comparing to the Nasdaq, and to the S&P 500 if tied again.)

Players must have a copy of the Year 2000 rules update; they can be downloaded here (warning: big honkin' PDF file). Players will also need to have some sort of Diplomacy map. I suggest this black-and-white map. You can place a hard copy in a plastic sheet protector and write on it with wax pencils or dry-erase markers, or do like I did years ago when playing though a BBS and print a bunch of copies and use crayons. (FYI, I played France - and was victorious!) You can also check the Diplomatic Pouch's maps page.

Update: The game will be played at the rate of one turn per week.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

9/11 Roundtable

All Agitprop reports that 24 tons of steel from the Twin Towers is scheduled to be melted down to forge the bow of a ship.

Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler say that as the terrorist have sown, so must they reap.

On blogs4God, Mean Dean mulls over the fate of someone who jumped from the WTC.

At Sasha Castel's, yours truly ponders the prerequisites for peace.

Cose Turche quotes a survivor of the Pentagon attack: "I think I look pretty good for a guy who got run over by a 757." Let's hear it for American resilience!

Cox & Forkum remember the Pentagon attack.

Cum Grano Salis, a German blog (now on the blogroll) remembers, links some Der Spiegel stories, and quotes Patrick Henry:

Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace - but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!

Daimnation reminds us that it was an attack, not a tragedy.

Bred DeLong reprints an excellent Dave Barry column published last year.

Dissident Frogman and NZ Pundit replace the standard blog format for one day to list the names of all the dead. The latter lists name, age, and hometown of each victim. Sgt. Stryker does the same with a list of the Pentagon and American Airlines Flight 77 victims. Update:The NZ Pundit 9/11 page is now here. The Dissident Frogman 9/11 page link is still good; the blog was redirecting to that URL for one day. Don't know about Sgt. Stryker's memorial.

At Dodgeblogium, Andrew Ian Dodge has some thoughts, and Murry Hill posts an image listing the many nations represented among the 9/11 victims.

Give War A Chance gives Noam Chomsky's thoughts some airtime. Know the enemy.

Live from Brussels' Maarten Schenk remembers hearing about the evacuatio of NATO headquarters. "I remember thinking: 'Great: the closest thing to WWIII is happening, and what do the folks at NATO do? Take a day off!'"

LGF and Merde in France have uncomplementary 9/11 cartoons from Al-Jazeera and Le Monde (aka Al-Jazeera on the Seine, respectively. Know the enemy.

Názory, a Czech blog (now on the blogroll), reports the discovery of a video that captured the first plane that hit the Twin Towers. LGF also has the story.

Open Book points to a booklet about the roles of priests on 9/11.

Russian Dilettante and Rye Beer link to Christopher Hitchens' thoughts on remembering 9/11 - with "a steady, unostentatious stoicism, made up out of absolute, cold hatred and contempt for the aggressors, and complete determination that their defeat will be utter and shameful."

Samizdata links a commemorative Flash animation.

Transterrestrial Musings reports some, er, observances.

Update: Spatula City BBS! has gone through several incarnations thorugh its lifetime: Fidonet node, Tripod-hosted website, somebody-who-doesn't-inflict-yer-site-with-evil-popup-ads-hosted website, and now enters the blogosphere (and my blogroll). Lord Spatula has posted a column from the Spat's pre-blog days, written on the very day of the WTC/Pentagon attacks. In the middle of the post is a link to an image of Palestinian children celebrating the 9/11 attacks. Last year LGF posted several pictures of those celebrations.

Update: LGF has more great posts - start with this one and scroll down.

Update: Samizdata posts a public statement issued by the Student Movement Coordination Committee for Democracy in Iran. They are fighting against Islamofascism, too. Semper fidelis!

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Thou Shalt Not Levy Burdensome Taxes

Alabama voters reject Governor Bob Riley's $1.2 billion tax hike, by a factor of 2 to 1. One voter had this to say:

"If the money they have now was spent wisely, we wouldn't need this," said Adie Ward, a 74-year-old retired state employee from Montgomery.

Maybe Riley should give some thought to the Christian ideal of proper stewardship of resources.

What Good Is Literacy If There's No Freedom Of Press?

From Granma International (emphasis added):

Francisco Lacayo, director of the Latin America and Caribbean UNESCO regional office based in Havana, announced at the rally held in the Plaza de la Revolución that the International Literacy Jury, meeting in Paris, had awarded Cuba the Rey Sejong honorary mention for literacy (of the Literacy Chair of the Latin American and Caribbean Education Institute), handing it over directly to President Fidel Castro.

Uh, There's A Bigger Issue Out There

As Natalie Solent can testify, there's been a lot of quibblng over the translation of MEChA's slogan, Por La Raza todo. Fuera de La Raza nada. Perhaps less time should be spent poring over that phrase and more time should be spent reading the constitution (emphasis added):

Chicano and Chicana students of Aztlán must take upon themselves the responsibilities to promote Chicanismo within the community, politicizing our Raza with an emphasis on indigenous consciousness to continue the struggle for the self-determination of the Chicano people for the purpose of liberating Aztlán.

They want a huge chunk of the United States ceded to Mexico. Isn't that the real cause for alarm?

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Bill Clinton's bin Laden Legacy

FrontPage Magazine has a four-part series of excerpts from Richard Minter's recent book Losing bin Laden (which FPM sells for $20 here).

In Clinton AWOL in the War on Terror, Minter tells of a high-level meeting that occurred in the wake of he attack on the USS Cole:

[Counter-terrorism czar Richard] Clarke had no doubts about whom to punish. The Joint Chiefs of Staff had compiled thick binders of bin Laden and Taliban targets in Afghanistan, complete with satellite photographs and GPS bomb coordinates - the Pentagon's "target decks." The detailed plan was "to level" every bin Laden training camp and compound in Afghanistan as well as key Taliban buildings in Kabul and Kandahar. "Let's blow them up," Clarke said. . . . Around the table, Clarke heard only objections - not a mandate for action.

Janet Reno and George Tenet weren't sure that they had enough evidence to determine who carried out the attack. (Where were they when Clinton bombed the Sudanese pharmaceutical plant and the abandoned al-Qaeda camp in Afghanistan?) Madeline Albright thought an attack would upset chances of negotiating with the Taliban to turn over bin Laden. (Where was she when Sudan offered to turn him over?) William Cohen, as Minter recalls, said that the Cole attack "was not sufficient provocation" to justify military retaliation. Other objections were raised, and in the end nothing was done.

No Hablo Arabic: Clinton's Failure on CIA Translators tells of CIA director James Woolsey's attempts to gain funding for "translators who spoke or read Arabic, Farsi, Pashto and the other languages of the great 'terrorist belt.'" Senate Appropriations Subcommittee chairman Dennis DeConcini (D-Arizona) was the chief roadblock:

Mr. Woolsey and Mr. DeConcini came to viscerally dislike each other. The senator told the author that he lost faith in Woolsey when he defended the secret construction of a $300 million National Reconnaissance Office headquarters in Northern Virginia. When Woolsey privately warned the senator against speaking publicly about sensitive intelligence information, Mr. DeConcini was outraged. He said he phoned both Clinton and [National Security Advisor Tony] Lake, threatening to demand Woolsey's resignation on the floor of the U.S. Senate unless Woolsey apologized. Mr. Woolsey never apologized, and Mr. DeConcini never forgave him.

Clinton could have made the difference:

Some might be tempted to blame Mr. DeConcini alone. To be sure, without congressional approval, it would be illegal for the CIA to shift even one dollar from one part of its estimated $30 billion budget to hire translators. But DeConcini called the president at least once and National Security Advisor Tony Lake many times, and never received a definitive response on whether hiring Arabic translators for the CIA was a presidential priority. With no such assurance, DeConcini felt confident in rejecting it. A Democratic senator does not lightly defy a Democratic president over a relatively small spending measure needed for national security, DeConcini insisted. But if Clinton wasn't interested, DeConcini would not be defying the president. The senator would have a free hand to thwart Woolsey.

Another of Richard Clarke's attempts to fight the war on terror is blocked in Clinton's Phony War on Terrorism. He proposed a covert ops mission that would involve launching helicopters from a carrier in the Indian Ocean to send a small Special Forces detachment to a camp where Osama bin Laden would be present. George Tenet and Joint Chiefs chairman General Henry H. Shelton demanded alternate proposals, the latter insisting on a huge overt operation:

Rather than oppose the operation directly, the general fell back on a favorite Pentagon tactic: counteroffer with a proposed operation so large that the president and his senior staff would back down. This is a time-honored technique for killing ideas that the Pentagon opposes. Without giving away his motivation, Shelton explained his reasoning to Barton Gellman of the Washington Post. "The greatest risk is that you would have a helicopter or a [special-operations] aircraft that would encounter mechanical problems over those great distances, or you have an accident. You want to have the capability if that happens to go in and get them, which means a combat search-and-rescue capability, and if you want to send those people in, you have to have an air-refueling operation." At that point, thousands of soldiers, sailors, and airmen would be involved, as well as several ships and dozens of aircraft. That was far from the small, surgical operation Clarke and others had in mind.

So, in the spring and summer of 1998, the Clinton Administration was deadlocked. Tenet had essentially vetoed covert operations to seize bin Laden. Clinton might have wanted to get bin Laden, but he didn't want to overrule the Pentagon to do it. Neither could the president stomach sending thousands of troops into harm's way, as General Shelton proposed.

How Clinton Kept Bin Laden Free explains Clinton's first opportunity to nab bin Laden. In 1994 Sudan had apprehended veteran assassin Carlos "The Jackal" and extradited him to France. Two years later, then-Minister of State for Defense Elfatih Erwa sought to engineer such an operation involving bin Laden - and with good reason:

[bin Laden's] terrorist activities had isolated Sudan from the United States and much of the developed world. Sudan's internal politics were moving against the terror master, too. President Bashir was in the midst of a power struggle against Hassan al-Turabi, the Islamist leader. Bin Laden supported Turabi with cash and a potential armed cadre of Muslim militants. If Bashir could rid himself of bin Laden, he could simultaneously restart Sudan's relationship with the United States and vanquish his chief internal political rival.

Erwa initially met with US ambassador to Sudan Timothy M. Carney, State Department director of East African Affairs David Shinn, and an official from the CIA's Directorate of Operations. In a followup meeting with only the CIA operative present, Erwa was told that the US government wasn't interested. "'We have nothing we can hold him on,' he carefully said."

Sudan couldn't even provoke any interest in its intelligence on bin Laden:

Sudan had dossiers on all of bin Laden's financial transactions, every fax he sent (the Mukhabarat [Sudanese intelligence] had even bugged his fax machines), and every one of bin Laden's terrorist associates and his dubious visitors...

Over the next few months and years, Sudan would repeatedly try to provide its voluminous intelligence files on bin Laden to the CIA, the FBI, and senior Clinton Administration officials - and would be repeatedly rebuffed through both formal and informal channels. This was one of the greatest intelligence failures of the Clinton years - the result of orders that came from the Clinton White House.

Monday, September 08, 2003

Send SpellChecker To Needy Spammers!

I just received another transatlantic spam - this one ostensibly from Ivory Coast. I won't bother posting the text. What caught my eye is that the sender spells the name of "his country" Cote Invoire instead of Cote d'Ivoire. You'd think that somebody whose email address HAS A FRENCH DOMAIN would know the French word for "ivory."

New Frontiers

Today I'm premiering as a guest blogger on Sasha Castel's site. My first post deals with trade policy and affirmative action.

Two Posts From Samizdata

Brian Micklethwait has spotted the latest in luxurious travel accomodations: an amphibious bus. Maybe that dream of a world cruise is within sight...

David Carr posts on health care mortality rates in the US and the UK. Don't forget to visit the comments section; Ernest Young relates personal encounters with Britain's National Health Service and with private health care in both countries, and John Moore (who works in the health insurance field) tells of ways that health care is financed in America.

Saturday, September 06, 2003

Take This Job And Shove It

Mahmoud Abbas/Abu Mazen resigns.

The story has a rather candid statement about Hamas.

Hamas, which does not recognize Israel's right to exist and is a bitter opponent of any peace agreement, has been behind most of the 100 suicide bombings that have killed 397 people since the start of fighting in September 2000.

If this is the case, then Hamas is totally immune to any peace agreement - which means that Israel should be as eager to liquidate Hamas as the US government is (State Department notwithstanding) to liquidate al-Qaeda.

A Sign That Bush Has The Right Nominee For EPA

Sen. Clinton to Block Bush EPA Nominee

Friday, September 05, 2003

A Day Of Infamy

On this date in 1972, eleven Israeli athletes were murdered by members of the Palestinian faction known as Black September at the Munich Olympics. The Jewish Virtual Library has an account of the events. WorldNetDaily reports that Mohammed Daoud Oudeh (aka Abu Daoud), one of the terrorists involved in the massacre, alleged in his 1999 memoir Palestine: From Jerusalem to Munich that Black September was "tightly controlled" (quoting WND) by Mohammed Yasser Abdul-Ra'ouf Qudwa Al-Husseini (aka Yasser Arafat), and that the Munich attack was financed by Mahmoud Abbas (aka Abu Mazen).

Oh Thank Heaven For Chapter Eleven

Amy Welborn reports that "Veggie Tales" creators Big Idea Productions is filing for bankruptcy. Classic Media LLC, owner of "Rocky and Bullwinkle" and other media properties, will be purchasing the assets and rights to the "Veggie Tales" characters. In comments, "bkc" wants some details on the company's "cash flow problems," cited as the culprit for its financial woes.

The Quagmire That Dares Not Speak Its Name

On FrontPage Magazine, Ann Coulter has something to say about quagmires the Democratic leadership refuses to pull out from:

But George Bush – with the widespread support of the American people and the U.S. Congress – acts to take out a lunatic supporting Islamic terrorism, and within six months, all the Democratic presidential candidates are clamoring for an "exit strategy." Bush should promise the Democrats that there will be peace and democracy in Iraq long before the Democrats conceive of an exit strategy to the war on poverty, the war on high rents, and the war on white kids applying to Michigan Law School.

Thursday, September 04, 2003

Then We Will Be Like All The Other Excessively Taxed And Nearly Bankrupt States, With Wealth Redistribution To Provide All Our Basic Needs

Alabama governor Bob Riley has received recent attention for equating the Christian call to charity with socialized wealth redistribution (link via Mark Byron). For those of you who brought your Bibles, turn to 1 Samuel 8:10-22:

Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who were asking him for a king. He said, "This is what the king who will reign over you will do: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. Your menservants and maidservants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the LORD will not answer you in that day."

But the people refused to listen to Samuel. "No!" they said. "We want a king over us. Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles." When Samuel heard all that the people said, he repeated it before the LORD. The LORD answered, "Listen to them and give them a king."

Then Samuel said to the men of Israel, "Everyone go back to his town."

The king governor is a fink.

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

New Blogroll Category

The Aztlán movimiento inaugurates a new blogroll section, tenatively titled "Enemy Political Movements," that will provide links to key documents regarding insurgent, separatist, and terrorist organizations and the like.

Update: I've changed the title to "Rogue's Gallery."

Man Who Aborts Abortionist Aborted

Paul Hill, convicted of shooting Florida abortionist Dr. John Bayard Britton and bodyguard James Herman Barrett, was executed at 6:08 PM tonight.

Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty has a list of various statements on its site. The execution was opposed by the ACLU, Amnesty International, National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, and Lisa Radelet, "longtime anti-death penalty activist and former Public Affairs Director for Planned Parenthood of North Central Florida." Planned Parenthood commented only on the safety of abortion clinics.

According to the Kansas City Star, National Institute of Family and Life Advocates director Tom Glessner supported the execution. "He's not a pro-lifer, as far as I'm concerned," Glessner said. "Osama bin Laden acted out of conviction, too."

The Pensacola News Journal reports Florida Right To Life spokeswoman Lynda Bell's support for the execution. "The person committed the crime, and now he has to face the consequences. Abortion is the killing of innocents, but, to me, it doesn't justify Paul Hill." Operation Rescue's national director Flip Benham concurs. "Killing Paul Hill is not murder. It's justice. I'd pull the switch myself and have no problem with it."

Benham finds irony in how the camps are lining up: "We live in an upside-down world. You've got people who hate capital punishment and want to stop the execution, but they love the killing of little children. It's a strange union."

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Bustamante/MEChA Roundtable

Glenn Reynolds links to various posts on the subject. Noteworthy is a reader mail that points out that La Voz de Aztlán is not affiliated with MEChA:

You should note that is not officially linked to M.E.Ch.A.--they deny any link, and Hector Carreon of la Voz is part of U.M.A.S., a different chicano student organization. They do share the same views on most issues, but you can't blame M.E.Ch.A./Bustamante for Carreon's words unless you can find some proof M.E.Ch.A. supports la Voz.

Evidently there's more than one outfit that wants to cede the western US to Mexico - just as there's more than one outfit that wants to push Israel into the sea.

Meanwhile, PrestoPundit has uncovered another one of Bustamante's affiliations (link via the Blogger King).

Update: It appears that the University of Oregon site featuring the text of El Plan de Aztlán (also known as El Plan Espiritual de Aztlán) is no longer in operation. For the sake of posterity, I have taken it upon myself to place a copy of on my own ISP-provided server space. So if you want to find El Plan but all the Aztlán sites have vanished, vaya con gringo.

Update: Lowell Ponte has a followup column on Bustamante. He notes inconsistencies MEChA's choice of "native language ("If Mechistas are so 'Bronze' and opposed to 'foreign Europeans,' why do they speak only another European colonial language, Spanish?") and support for Bustamante ("Bustamante is not an 'indigenous' Mestizo with ancient Indian claim to the lands of California. He is descended entirely from Spanish colonialist exploiters, not from the Native Americans his ancestors victimized.") Ponte also delves into California history and gives some snippets of Bustamante's statist policies.

Update: The University of Oregon site is working after all. The University of Texas - Pan American has the text of MEChA's National Constitution. The preamble reads thus (emphasis added):

Chicano and Chicana students of Aztlan must take upon themselves the responsibilities to promote Chicanismo within the community, politicizing our Raza with an emphasis on indigenous consciousness to continue the struggle for the self-determination of the Chicano people for the purpose of liberating Aztlan.

The following structure will make every MEChista accountable to its chapter, every chapter accountable to it's central (where applicable), every central accountable to its region, every region accountable to its state (where applicable), and every state accountable to the national.

Half Of The Story

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the annual cost of occupying Iraq could total $26 billion.

Not included in the report is the cost of not occupying Iraq.

Monday, September 01, 2003

Abolish Labor Day

The US Department of Labor has a webpage on the history of Labor Day. The DoL describes the spirit of the holiday thus:

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

Why do we have a holiday dedicated to only one element of commerce? The "strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country" is dependent on five factors:

  • Liberty. Laws regarding commerce and property rights are relatively fair and consistent. Taxation levels, while far from ideal, are such that (except in a few areas) they do not choke out business startups and growth. The streets are free from warfare and from government pogroms.
  • Culture. Society generally encourages private-sector employment; in several African nations, by contrast, the college-educated gravitate heavily toward government jobs. The rate of crimes against person and property, except in various urban neighborhoods, is not so high that businesses are driven away.
  • Entrepreneurs. These are the people responsible for the organization of an entire company, the establishment of its entire product line, and the assumption of the risk inherent in the venture.
  • Investors. Businesses must be financed. Outside sources such as banking institutions and stockholders routinely invest in established businesses, and occasionally provide capital for startups. Investors assume some degree of risk.
  • Labor. Traditionally this term is used to signify all non-managerial positions within a company. I use it to refer to include all non-entrepreneurial positions in a company. The common usage of "labor" and "management" insinuates that managers (including entrepreneurs) don't really do anything, that their organizational duties isn't really "work." I use "entrepreneur" and "labor" to distinguish between those responsible for an entire company and those responsible for portions of it.

Happy Commerce Day! Drink a toast to the Bill of Rights, peaceful citizens, Bill Gates, Wall Street, and all your coworkers.

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